On the eve of this NFL season, ESPN assemble a story looking at 14 tendencies across professional football. The NFL is passing the ball far more than it did a long time ago, so the passing game and its consequences is now the sunlight that the remainder of professional soccer rotates around. For instance: cornerbacks are now paid a whole lot more than they used to be, while running backs aren’t.
But you knew that already.
One trend that caught my eye was that: the number of coaches that defer the kickoff into the second half has skyrocketed over the last ten years.
Before 2008, the NFL had a rule that prevented groups from deferring the kickoff into the second half, and as such, 99 percent of trainers that won the toss elected to get. (Two points here One: I have followed soccer religiously my whole life and don’t have any recollection of such a principle existing. Two: Why were 1 percentage of trainers electing to kickoff to start both halves?)
Nevertheless, the NFL gave its teams the option to defer beginning in 2008, also in those first three seasons, a third (32 percent, to be precise ) of trainers elected to do so. To half of NFL coaches, that amount had climbed in 2011-12. It was two-thirds.
Now, five in six NFL coaches who win the throw choose to defer, based on ESPN’s data.
ESPN discovered no statistical benefit to taking the ball to start the second half in contrast to the first, but maybe coaches are planning at a psychological advantage. An excess ownership is, on paper, more precious in the second half compared to the first. Maybe coaches are aiming to the double whammy of grading to close the first half and to open the second. It is likely all the aforementioned.
Or it could be a simpler reason: they are doing it because everybody else is. Writes ESPN:
There may be a herd mentality. If a great coach like Belichick is going to defer all the time, why go the opposite direction?
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